Today We Became Engaged

by Dianne Ahern

A thoughtful, romantic, faith-centered, keepsake book for couples discerning marriage. Discusses the power of love, the importance of shared values and more. This is a marriage planner…not a wedding planner! Allows couples to record their courtship and engagement stories for years to come.

Price: $22.95 hardback gift edition

THE BOOK

A thought provoking, romantic, faith-centered book for young adults and couples discerning marriage.
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This book explores:
– The power of love
– The importance of shared values — commitment, fairness, courage, compassion, honesty, respect, and forgiveness
– History of betrothal and engagement
– Entertaining stories of proposals, engagement rings, and acceptances

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“Something magical happens when two people decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together. They stand on the threshold of being totally committed to one another for as long as they both shall live, regardless of health or wealth. It is the time to revel in the mystery of what lies ahead — soon a wedding and a honeymoon, then a home, children, mingling of families and friends, sharing joys, sharing sorrows, and most importantly, the two becoming one through marriage,” excerpt from Today We Became Engaged.

It’s also a keepsake book for the engaged couple to record
– The story of how we met
– Our courtship
– Our Engagement
– Family traditions we want to keep
– Promises to each other
– Our future together
… and more

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TESTIMONIALS

The Catholic Post
(Diocese of Peoria), February 10, 2002
What to do before ‘I do’?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There is no shortage of guidebooks for engaged couples seeking answers to questions such as who should pay for their wedding reception, what are the current fashions in wedding attire and how soon thank-you notes must be sent for gifts.

But when it comes to the ultimate questions engaged couples face — is my fiancée really the right person for me? Do we really love one another? Would I make a good spouse or parent? — few publications in the secular market have addressed them.

That is, until Dianne Ahern decided to change that

Ahern, a native of Sacred Heart Parish in Campus, recently published “Today We Became Engaged,” a combination keepsake book and compendium of advice to help engaged couples know if they are truly in love, approach marriage as a vocation, and discern whether or not they are really called to it.

“I wanted it to be romantic, yet thoughtful, and to bring God into it in a friendly manner, not ‘lecturey’ or preachy,” Ahern, 58, told The Catholic Post in a telephone interview from her office in Ann Arbor this week.

“When people are in love, they are very excited and looking to the future,” she said. She believes her book celebrates and fosters that spirit, while also “bringing to the fore things they (the couple) should think about.”

“Today We Became Engaged,” published in December, is the second in her planned series of books focusing on the sacraments and other rites of passage. Ahern’s first book, “Today I Was Baptized,” was published in June of 2000, and her third book, “Today I Made My First Communion,” is due out later this year.

The 56-page engagement book, illustrated by Katherine Larson, includes sections on wedding and engagement customs and pages for couples to preserve photos and record memories of how they met, how they proposed and their favorite shared or individual activities. It is available through both secular and religious outlets, including several Catholic bookstores in the Diocese of Peoria.

Through anecdotes and personal stories, the book also demonstrates that a relationship is more likely to last when based on shared values such as commitment, fairness, courage, compassion, honesty, respect, and forgiveness, rather than on outward appearance or attractiveness.

“A lot of material published (for engaged couples) covers how to execute a wedding or how to cope with a spouse’s idiosyncrasies,” Ahern said. “But it doesn’t get into what I think is the key to the period of engagement — which is a period of discernment and making sure this man or woman is going to be your lifelong soul mate.”

Ahern, the youngest of four children of the late Vernon and Mary Ahern, grew up in rural Livingston County near Campus. She graduated from Dwight High School in 1961 and from Marian College in Indianapolis in 1965 with a degree in biology. She worked in the medical laboratory field before completing a master’s degree in healthcare administration at Indiana University in 1975.

Currently she is vice president of Elan Systems, an international healthcare consulting firm based in Ann Arbor. In the mid-1990s she worked with OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria to complete a needs assessment for new laboratory facilities that were completed in 1998.

Her interest in writing books began several years ago with a burst of what she now considers divine inspiration.

“I was walking to work one day, having my morning talk with God, and wondering if I was doing the right thing with my life,” she said. “The idea then came to me, why not write little keepsake books on events in your life?”

As a Catholic she immediately thought of the sacraments as natural subjects for her writing. She started with baptism, since it is a sacrament common to all Christians and because christening celebrations bring generations of family together. She then wanted to do a book on marriage, but felt something was lacking in most of the existing guidebooks on wedding planning and marriage relationships.

“I thought something is not hitting the right spot, because there are still so many divorces and bad marriages” despite all the pages of advice, Ahern said. “I thought people needed to focus more on why they are getting married.”

While Ahern is not married herself, she said she is familiar with both the good and bad sides of couple relationships from her own experience and those of her loved ones.

“My parents were a wonderful example” of a good marriage, she said, noting in the book that they prayed with the family every night before bed. “Until I got out into the world, I didn’t realize how strong a marriage they had. Very few people have the kind of happiness they did.”

She said the spiritual content of the book is “subtle” and designed to appeal to couples who might not otherwise think about the role of God or moral values in their relationship.

The book encourages couples to respect traditional moral convictions regarding premarital sex and cohabitation. It notes that couples who do not live together or have sex before marriage are less likely to divorce.

“Being soul mates first, having a relationship steeped in mutual trust, honesty, commitment, respect and fairness, will guarantee that life together and sex will be totally fulfilling in the marriage covenant,” Ahern writes. “The opposite is not true.”

Because she is known to her nieces and nephews as Aunt Dee, and because she has many childhood memories of exploring her parents’ attic, Ahern named her publishing company Aunt Dee’s Attic.

“You can explore and have an imagination and pretend there,” she said. An attic represents “a creative space” full of personal and family history, she added.

Ahern said all her Aunt Dee’s Attic projects will emphasize strong family values, respect for life and belief in God. Other projects she is planning include books on confirmation, careers or vocations in religious life, dealing with illness and death, becoming grandparents, a child’s first day of school, and welcoming a new baby into the home.


AMSNews
(Archdiocese of Military Services), Vol 2 No 3, 2003
“Spreading the Faith” a letter from the Archbishop
“I was especially taken by a series of colorful, highly informative and attractive gift books ($19.95 each), ‘Today I was Baptized’, ‘Today I Made My First Communion’, and ‘Today We Became Engaged’, each solid, amazingly comprehensive and bound to appeal to the whole family.” Edwin F. O’Brien, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Dianne Ahern grew up on a farm in Illinois, has traveled extensively for business and pleasure, and now resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Medical Technology from Marian College (University), and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Indiana University.  After rewarding careers in laboratory medicine, hospital administration, and healthcare consulting, Dianne found a new love: researching and writing about the events that shape our lives.

It was after her first Vatican visit in 1999, when Dianne looked into the eyes of Pope (Saint) John Paul II, held his hand, and kissed his ring, that she felt called to write books for Catholic children and their families.  Already a successful businesswoman, Dianne formed her own publishing company, Aunt Dee’s Attic, to support her new calling.

Beginning with the sacrament of baptism, Dianne outlined a series of books on the sacraments designed to prepare families for these most important events.  Her books’ formats merge storybook, reference book, and memory book elements into beautiful keepsake books. The sacrament books feature the imprimatur of the Catholic Church to assure families that the contents are true Church teachings.

In addition to her books on the sacraments, Dianne has developed a series of adventure/mystery books for young readers subtitled Adventures with Sister Philomena, Special Agent to the Pope.  The Adventure books place fictional characters in real settings to teach about the Church, saints, and holy places.  Her books have won accolades from retailers, readers, clergy, teachers, grandparents, and moms and dads.

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